Money to Burn

So, apparently, a woman, who happened to be a model, was fat shamed by an Uber driver this past week who, from looking at his photo, was in no good position to fat shame anyone. Not to be content with his behavior, the woman took to Instagram to tell her story. Which is where I came across it.

In her post, this woman said that yes, she knew she was fat but her wallet was even fatter and she would no longer spend money on Uber. I don’t believe she was calling for an outright boycott, just that she herself, personally, would no longer spend money on their services due to the treatment she received. The story in and of itself was not all that new or interesting – things like this happen to women each and every day, to varying degrees.

What I did find interesting was a comment by another person that said while they guessed it was a shame what happened to the woman (because really, who doesn’t like a little body shaming with their car ride?), they couldn’t understand just why Uber should be held accountable for their driver’s actions. They went a step further and said if a cashier at Target had been rude to them, they might not go through that person’s line again, but they wouldn’t stop shopping at all Targets. Given their statement, however…and just for the sake of clarity here, it would appear they wouldn’t even stop shopping at the store in which the incident took place. They would simply choose a different cashier in the future.

Now maybe this commenter is a glutton for punishment or maybe they just have a low bar for how they’re treated. Personally, if I went to Target – or anywhere, for that matter – and was body shamed or insulted in some way, I wouldn’t be seeing more of that particular cashier either, because I wouldn’t continue giving money to a store that allowed such behavior. I don’t expect red carpet treatment, but on the flip side of that, I work too hard for my money to give it to someone who is rude, doesn’t appreciate my business, or makes me uncomfortable.

So. I have a better question for that commenter. Why shouldn’t an employer be held accountable for its employee? Especially those in the service arena who, on some level or another, depend on their quality of customer service to promote their business.

The woman from this Uber incident has every right to withhold her money from a business that, if not actively cultivating rudeness, at the least allows it to go on. Uber has control over their drivers’ actions and like any employer, should be accountable for what their employees do on the job. If they want this woman’s business, or anyone else’s business who happens to sympathize with her for the treatment she received, they should institute rules regarding the treatment of customers – and if they already have those rules in place, then they should enforce them. I mean, that’s just good business sense.

Choosing where we spend our money is one of the greatest strengths consumers have. Why on earth would someone want to give perfectly good money to a company that insults them?

And God Created a Movie Critic

I was staying up late one night, as so often happens, and watched a movie that I first saw years ago (and no, not when it first came out).  It was And God Created Woman, filmed in 1956, starring the French sex symbol, Brigitte Bardot.

First off, if you surf the web at all, you may have seen photos of an elderly Bardot (she’s 82 by the way) with the headline “Stars who have aged badly.” These so-called headlines bring you to a site that just wants to sell you something, but the principle of it is what really irks me.  The woman is 82 and these types of sites implicitly criticize her, and other former sex symbols, for not looking exactly the same at 82 as they looked at 20!  How dare they not get a facelift and a tummy tuck so they can age “gracefully.” Yet if they do get a facelift or tummy tuck, then the criticism is, “Oh, how dare they try plastic surgery to stay young, they should just get old like everybody else.”

It’s hell to be a former sex goddess, I can tell you. (Well, not from personal experience, but hey, it’s just common sense!)

Anyway, that brings me to And God Created Woman. It wasn’t my cup of tea when I first watched it and this next time around sort of cemented my disdain.

You’ve got to understand that European films have always been distinctively different from American films. American films had a film code that limited what could and could not be shown on-screen, whereas European movies were much more permissive. So a European movie made in 1956 would be exploring themes that were explored very differently in American films – if they were explored here at all. But even for all that, And God Created Woman was quite scandalous for the time period.

god-created-woman-pic

I haven’t researched it enough to know if others think like me but I do know in the official descriptions of the film and in media content about the film, no one mentions anything about what I’m about to say.  There was just one critic, Dennis Schwartz, who sort of seemed to support my opinion:

“The public loved it and it became a big box-office smash, and paved the way for a spate of sexy films to follow. What was more disturbing than its dullish dialogue and flaunting of Bardot as a sex object, was that underneath its call for liberation was a reactionary and sexist view of sex.”

Bear with me as I explain the plot to make my point.

The film follows an orphan, Juliette, who was taken in by a family in a small fishing village. She’s gorgeous and on the surface of things, appears to have a very high sex drive with exhibitionist tendencies, and a desperate need for men.

However, in the character that I saw on the screen, I saw depression (she has severe mood swings), anxiety, a severe and deep-seated desire to be loved and accepted by men that could stem from depression, childhood trauma, or some other issue left undeveloped on-screen.

Every man around her uses her. The older brother, Antoine, despises her, yet sought her out to sleep with her, used her, then left her. Of course it was her fault he wanted to have sex with her. So he carries the torch of contempt while continuing to toy with her emotions. The mega-rich, and much older, businessman, Éric, acts in the same manner – he sees in her something he wants, much like his proposed casino, and is determined to manipulate her to his own needs and desires.  While these men are chasing her, they are at the same time criticizing, mocking, and talking bad about her…how her looks are meant to destroy men, her high sex drive makes her a slut/whore, and they vilify her – while at the same time, wanting her. To me that sounds like rationalization, manipulation, and misogyny at its finest.

At one point, the older brother knows his younger brother, Michel, is in love with Juliette, yet during a boat trip with her, after Antoine and she get stranded…what does he do?  Has sex with her. But in the end, he blames her for his transgression (because obviously he has no control over his own impulses) and accuses her of manipulating him when it was clearly the other way around (to me) and he took advantage of what is obviously a vulnerable woman. Not to mention betraying his brother’s trust. But no, that was all on her. Couldn’t blame himself for not keeping it in his pants. I mean, come on.

No one, with the exception of Michel, truly cared for her. Michel. He saw past her mood swings, her so-called sex drive (which to me always seemed “put on” in an effort to be accepted and loved by men rather than a true sex drive), her obvious manic episodes…he saw the real her and loved her. At the end, he is the only one who stood by her, albeit a bit roughly.  However, his attitude and actions convince Juliette, finally, that he’s not leaving her side despite her frenzied behavior. And this in spite of the others trying to convince him she was a bad person. Michel was the only male character to rise above and do his gender justice. Quite frankly, I felt this was the movie’s only saving grace — the ending — when Juliette finally discovered the “one” who truly loved the real person she was inside.  We should all be so lucky.

But even as the credits rolled, my thoughts remained snagged on the general theme, rather than the final scene.

While not her first movie, this particular film made Brigitte Bardot a global “sex symbol.” Or a “sex kitten.” And what did those words mean to men at the time – or even now?

Not a beautiful woman, self-confident, who had the respect and admiration of men, but rather someone whom they lusted after – whom they would possess if they could and whom they would equally despise if she allowed them to possess her. Much like the character in the movie.

I didn’t see an erotic drama in this movie, nor did I see it as a film reveling in the “sexual revolution” or celebrating sexual liberation.  I saw a sad testament of a woman desperately seeking love and acceptance and only finding men who wanted to use her and throw her away.

Deadly Sins

We are now entering a judgment free zone, okay? This is a blog of trust and openness so please don’t roll your eyes too hard when I tell you that I recently watched some cable reality show called 7 Deadly Sins. Hey, remember, no judging! I swear it was my first time watching it. I had no clue what I was getting into.

If anyone else here has had the unique experience of seeing an episode you’ll understand when I say without hesitation that it is a truly awful show. So awful I couldn’t stop watching. It sucked me in like a UFO’s tractor beam or a vampire’s gaze. I was transfixed and couldn’t help it because the topic of the show was so disgusting.

Lucky me I had turned on the episode dedicated to Lust. Part of the show’s way to define lust and the various interpretations focused on this elderly ass of a minister (who was more than a little creepy) who actively advocates for men to cheat on their wives. The wife could know about it or be left in the dark; on this point he has no preference. He was going off about the merits of visiting brothels and using prostitutes, and cheating in general, as a way to save marriages.

According to him—the dashing geriatric Casanova that he was—when women get married, “they get the white picket fence, the two-year-old twins, the puppy dog, the whole nine yards. They lose interest in pleasing their man….” so sex isn’t as important to them anymore. What these docile housewives don’t remember is that, “…men need blow jobs and wives just won’t do that…so why not find someone who will…”

So creepy old guy…I mean, this devout, lovely old minister has boiled it down to basic black and white in a way that no one else can because he understands women soooooo well. Well, it’s a good thing we’re in a judgment free zone, otherwise I might have a couple of things to say about how absolutely freaking stupid this entire premise is. But I digress.

Now this cuckoo minister is out there actively leading a congregation of men seeking out the word of God, or in this case – the means in which to cheat on their wives.  He even found a loophole in the Bible where God supposedly approves of it. No really, he did. So their search is on the up and up (ha!). I wish I could remember the exact citation he used, but if you know your Bible, it’s the part where Jesus apparently reached out to and helped ‘the prostitute’ and didn’t look down on her or treat her badly. Therefore, according to this minister, God must be totally cool with prostitution and men cheating, because Jesus did not, and I quote, “cure the prostitute of her ways.”

Okay, sure, yeah, the logic behind that thinking makes perfect sense. I can see how that must mean God is okay with marital infidelity.  Hang on for a sec while I just bang my head on the wall a few times.

Giving credit where credit is due, the man even practices what he preaches. On the show they filmed him visiting a brothel and I have to say, he’s more well-known there than Norm on Cheers.

I hope you can see how it is I got sucked into watching the show. At least this one part of it, anyway (I didn’t sit through the whole hour, trust me, I just couldn’t). But the last part with the minister was the real kicker for me. I’m still cleaning soda off my duvet because the minister’s parting words during the final fade-out scene took me somewhat by surprise seconds after I had just taken a somewhat large swig of my drink. (Remember…no judging.) So — as he’s driving away from the brothel after some money well spent, he says to the camera, “If I ever remarry, I’m going to marry an ex-working girl because they’re submissive and really know how to treat a man.” Excuse me? Remarry? REMARRY!? Someone actually signed up for this in the past? What a shocker that didn’t work out. And there goes my lovely duvet all covered in diet Coke.

The gospel of misinformation this guy is spreading is on a ludicrous level. The utter misogyny seeping out of my TV screen reminded me of The Blob and I seriously expected Steve McQueen to parade around the corner at any moment to fight the beast off with a fire extinguisher of logic. Everything this so called “Minister of God” said was simply untrue.

  • Infidelity is okay according to the Bible!? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t one of the Ten Commandments ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’? I thought the Ten Commandments were sort of a big deal in the Bible. Important even.
  • Women are bound to lose interest in sex after they get hitched? Maybe for him when his ex-wife realized she royally screwed up in the husband department. Or, according to his scenario: two year old twins, a house to keep up (white picket fence), a puppy dog, the whole nine yards, and apparently a man who believes in traditional roles (equals no help)…sure…I mean with a household like that, maybe the wife just doesn’t have much energy left over for sex. But in general?  Most women like sex. I hate to break it to you guys –  if you’re not getting any, it’s not because we don’t like sex or because we lose interest in sex.

I wonder what this fella would think about women cheating on their husbands? You know, to save the marriage. I’d bet my life savings he’d be against it. The wife would surely be branded as a hussy who doesn’t know how to respect her man or some BS like that.

At the beginning of the show, before I knew what I was getting into, the misogyny dripping off this guy made me livid, but then by the end I was in tears from laughing. He was such a parody of a true upstanding man of the cloth it was hilarious. Made all the funnier by how staunchly serious he was about his contradictory and crazy beliefs. People like this just kill me —and they are the ones who are SURE they have a golden place awaiting them in heaven. If they do, I tell you this, I’ll take hell any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.